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Mandatory Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System

Mandatory Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System


WASHINGTON – The Federal   Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal   Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory nationwide test of   the Emergency   Alert System (EAS) on September   27, 2017 at 2:20 pm EDT. The test will assess the readiness   for distribution of the national level test message, as well as verify its   delivery.

The EAS test is made   available to radio, television, cable, and direct broadcast satellite   systems, and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test’s   message will be similar to the regular monthly test message of the EAS with   which the public is familiar, only inserting the word “national.” “This is a national test of the   Emergency Alert System. This is only a test.”

Significant coordination   and regional testing has been conducted with the broadcast community and   emergency managers in preparation for this EAS national test. The test is   intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that   will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an   emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems   is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure   required for the distribution of a national message and determine whether   technological improvements are needed.

Conducting the test   following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria will provide insight into   the resiliency of our national-level alerting capabilities in impacted areas.   The test will also provide valuable data into how the Integrated Public   Alerts and Warning System (IPAWS) performs during and following a variety of   conditions. With two major hurricanes already making landfall, and a   potential for two more impacting our nation, we need to have the ability to   maintain the continuity of critical infrastructure under various   conditions. 

Receiving preparedness tips   and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can   make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and   our partners are working to ensure alerts and warnings are received quickly   through several different technologies, no matter whether an individual is at   home, at school, at work, or out in the community. The FEMA App, which can be   downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure receipt of   both preparedness tips and weather alerts. The FEMA App can be downloaded at www.fema.gov/mobile-app.

The back-up date for the   test is October 4, 2017, at 2:20 pm EDT, in case the September 27 test is   cancelled. More information on the IPAWS and Wireless Emergency Alerts is   available at www.ready.gov/alerts.   You can also access a video, FEMA   Accessible Emergency Alert System IPAWS Test Message, in American Sign   Language.  

This is the third mandatory   nationwide test of the EAS. The first test was conducted in November 2011 in   collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials.   The second mandatory test was conducted in September 2016.




Background: In 2007,   FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by   integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems. The new   system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS)   became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports more than 900 local, state,   tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS   enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers,   police, and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over   multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way,   helping to save lives. For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, go to: www.fema.gov/ipaws.   For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.